Monday, November 15, 2010

New iTunes Announcement On Nov. 16

Whilst we all wait for iOS 4.2, Apple has decided to sidetrack us a bit by posting a cryptic announcement of an announcement:

So, that'll be at 7 a.m. PST, 10 a.m. EST, 3 p.m. London, 12 a.m. Tokyo (Wednesday) and 5 a.m. HST.  Thankfully, it won't be another keynote but rather we just have to check back at

Usually, announcement of keynotes are done months in advance and we kind of know generally what the topic will be.  But this is not a keynote.  Normal Apple announcements with less pomp and circumstance are done normally on the day of.  So why this "big" announcement done in a "small" way?

The tech blogs are furiously speculating what will be in the announcement:

  • TUAW:  "It's safe to assume that this development is going to center around Apple's iTunes storefront, possibly introducing new commerce models (music rentals?) or social integration. Or, you know, The Beatles."
  • CrunchGear:  "A streaming music service would make all kinds of sense for Apple, and it wouldn’t be too bad for us consumers either."
  • Engadget:  "All streaming subscription service based out of that North Carolina data center? More video content in the store? Apps for the Apple TV with the iOS 4.2 update? The Beatles?"
  •  "...the latest bit of speculation relies on some bits of information pulled out of the iTunes 10.1 release from last Friday to suggest that Apple might be looking to launch some kind of 'iTunes Live Stream' service."
  • AppleInsider:  "[Analyst Gene Munster] said it's 'probable' that Apple will announce a cloud-based iTunes service that would allow content streaming to Internet-connected devices."
  • Gizmodo:  Streaming Music: Very Likely;  Cloud Storage:  Very Likely.
UPDATE - 11/15/2010:  New information is coming in FAST.  Peter Kafka from All Things Digital says we shouldn't expect music subscriptions or iTunes streaming since there are no new deals that is publicly known that would allow this.  But, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Comcast's attempt to buy NBC/Universal will have conditions imposed by the U.S. government which includes not withholding programming from companies like Apple and Netflix.  So, streaming NBC television shows and Universal movies could soon be a reality.  The plot thickens!

UPDATE #2 - 11/15/2010:  The Wall Street Journal says Apple will announce tomorrow that the Beatles will finally be offered in the iTunes music store.  TechCrunch actually pointed out a visual cue in the Apple announcement that gave a vague Beatles hint.  TUAW also pointed out the similarities in the wording of the Apple announcement and a Paul McCartney song.  If the Beatles is all that tomorrow's announcement will be, then I don't really care all that much.  If this was two or three years ago it may have been more interesting.

What do I want to see?
  • I want to see cloud-based syncing with apps.  I know I pooh-poohed that two years ago, but I think the Apple ecosystem has grown so much since then that it is now necessary to have this.
  • I would also like to have your iTunes music, television shows, movies and podcasts in the cloud, if you choose so.  This would make AirPlay awesome.  Imagine -  your 18GB of music are in the cloud and you can stream them to any Apple device anytime you have an internet connection which could then stream them to AirPlay-compatible speakers.  Yes, streaming music will lessen the audio quality.  But, most of us are not audiophiles and the dominance of MP3 and the popularity of streaming music services like Pandora proved that.  Sure, you can still do it the old-fashioned way by syncing the "hard copy" of your media to your device.  That will not go away anytime soon.  But, having your media in the cloud is just convenient.
What do you think we will see tomorrow?  What features in iTunes do you want to see?  Leave your comment below.

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